Re-establishing human dignity and integrity

by Patrick Khamadi, Sven Ramones,  2011/06/09

On May 20, 2011 the “First International Congress on Humanitarian Aid” took place in the Westphalian city of Münster. The event was jointly organised by the city of Münster and the Technical College of Münster. humedica took advantage of this opportunity to take part in the kick-off of this informative event.

Among the more than 250 participants of the Congress there were students and professors of various universities and colleges, representatives of international relief organisations and other interested listeners, as well as three army generals from EU member states.

The capturing one-day event was marked by intensive interaction between the participants both during the series of speeches and the dialogue sessions.

A plea for human dignity and integrity. General a. D. Roméo Dallaire (left) and humedica employee Florian Klinner. Photo: humedica/Patrick Khamadi

Although the event was organised under the title “International Emergency Aid – a Balancing Act”, all speeches pointed out that human dignity and integrity is of essential importance and absolutely unquestionable during any kind of humanitarian missions.

General a. D. Roméo Dallaire was the keynote speaker of the Congress. In 1994 Dallaire commanded the UN peacekeeping forces in Ruanda during the genocide that claimed the lives of more than 850,000 people. One million people were injured and four million had to flee their homes.

In his speech, General a. D. Dallaire told about his experiences during the atrocious era of genocide. According to his opinion the real failure back than consisted in the fact that humankind had not managed to join forces in time to stop the genocide.

During a capturing speech that was followed by standing ovations General a. D. Dallaire observed that nowadays humanitarian intervention is becoming ever more complex.

In order to live up to this fact, a correspondingly high number of agents are needed to cover the various different fields of humanitarian relief.

Furthermore he also pointed out that it was important not to neglect humanity when dealing with this complexity. Dallaire made a stand for fair and evenly spread humanitarian relief measures.

In the following sessions further guest speakers, such as Prof. Chalk of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights, Prof. Joachim Gardemann of the Technical College of Münster or Prof. Ted Baarda of the Dutch Academy for Defence analysed further important features of modern humanitarian aid.

For example they addressed the necessity of the citizens being willing to take their own initiative, of cooperation between individual humanitarian relief organisations and encompassing ethics of humanitarian aid against the background of new media possibilities of individual participation.

In the framework of the Congress, it had been very close to the heart of Prof Joachim Gardemann that Münster become a centre for humanitarian aid, especially in consideration of the Westphalian history.

On a whole, the Congress offered a creative platform for humanitarian relief organisations to exchange opinions and discuss the aid approaches they implement in different emergency situations.

At the end of the Congress, humedica employee Florian Klinner and Patrick Khamadi met General a. D. Roméo Dallaire. He encouraged the course humedica has taken regarding medical disaster intervention.

In particular, Dallaire mentioned the example of Haiti, where humedica is running comprehensive medical relief programmes, as well as several reconstruction projects.

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